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Connecticut Ave Duplex: The Right Tree

I have to tell you that the Connecticut Ave duplex facelift project is actually complete…except for the landscaping and that’s what the hold up is. We’ve been waiting for cooler temps to plant in and the time has come.

The facelift was a success and I promise to share as soon as the planting is done. You are really, REALLY going to like it but first I had to select the right tree for the front patch of scraggly grass leading up to a drainage ditch.

West Conn front yard before

We’re going to turn scraggles up there in to a mulched bed with a nice flowering tree and some other shrubs and grasses. I knew I wanted a white flowering tree that only grew to about 20′ or so. I started out after a Fringe Tree. It’s a beautiful tree with these awesome white blooms that grows well here in the South that people often overlook, it’s a great alternative to the boring old Crape Myrtle.

tree fringe

But…everyone is out of Fringe trees here. So I travel a bit out of my neighborhood to go to one of my favorite retail garden spots, Garden Supply Co. they are out of Fringe trees too but they do suggest an Amelanchier (am-ə-LAN-sheer) and a Japanese Snowbell.

tree amelanchier

tree snowbell

The helpful people at Garden Supply showed me a few other trees, no dogwoods thank you, no redbuds, no Mom I don’t want to plant a Coral Bark Maple. I liked the Amelanchier and that’s what we’ll plant and enjoy those white blooms against that boldly painted duplex.


You Like Dags?

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I like dags. Brad Pitt likes dags.

This is my boy Lex enjoying the NC mountain life.

the estate of things chooses Sarah's dog Lex

This is Betsy’s patchouli-laced Newfoundland Pollock, his friends call him Pocket.

the estate of things chooses pollock purple

I discovered Deborah’s beautiful corgis Howard and Milo on her blog Dirt Simple. I’m not sure what part of Dirt Simple is my favorite, her Sunday musings, the images of her work, her landscape design advice or explanations about the design process. Can you tell I’m hooked!?!  Deborah is a veteran landscape designer, offering a wealth of great images of some of the projects she has worked on.  I only wish I lived closer to Detroit so I could go to Deborah’s retail spot Detroit Garden Works.  You can also visit Deborah at her website to view her beautiful portfolio and if you’re so lucky, to hire her to transform your outdoor space. I’m pretty sure this won’t be the last time you’ll hear me talk about Deborah.

P.S. My Mom and I started researching long-haired corgis, do I really need more pet hair to vacuum?

the estate of things chooses dirt simple corgi

the estate of things chooses dirt simple's howard and milo

Detroit Garden Works, Summer 2009

the estate of things chooses detroit garden works banner


Sketching My Garden

I’m gonna take the nod from Monrovia and attempt to design and sketch my own garden.

the estate of things chooses garden sketch

They have some step by step instructions on how to do it. I’m sure there’s some fancy, free program download for garden layouts but I’d rather just attempt it with old fashioned colored pencils and graph paper.

We have a blank slate in the backyard at Bungalow 404, I’m embarrassed but here it is,

the estate of things chooses Sarah's backyard

It’s dissapointing to look out the dining room windows and have that view.

So first we’ll make the plan then the budget and finally…the magic.  I plan on sketching on Sunday, that is my goal and I want to emphasize the word goal.

Those bushes are growing out of an old cement foundation that will need to be removed and the whole yard will have to be leveled before the real fun can begin.  You cannot tell from the image but the yard has a lot of dips and a significant slope near the back toward the woods.

We will have the yard leveled and cleaned up before we have the design plan.  We gave our heavy equipment guy a call and he plans to meet with us on Monday to assess the job and give us an estimate.  And then once he begins the view will be even more depressing.

I’m thinking about something like this…

The circular patio and wood burning fire pit are a definite.

the estate of things chooses lee kleinhelter home


I recently went to a wedding at this property, I like the line of small trees that separate the different zones of the garden. This property is for sale, here. 


I’d like to frame a path with lavendar, kind of like this

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine

I love how the red rises from the lower growing grass.  It’s a great contrast, possibly planted around the circular patio?

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine garden

I like the concrete stones that were used in this path.

the estate of things chooses sunset magazine concrete stones

I like this Craig Socia design, thinking a layer of evergreens possible some good old Leyland Cypress along the fence line and then a layer of shrubbery and then a third layer with perennials

the estate of things chooses craig socia landscape design